If you are an old time Windows user and made the switch to Windows 8 from an earlier version, you’ll know that the Start menu was phased out in favor of the Start screen. This move did not go down well with the community though and the furious backlash has prompted Microsoft to reinstate the Start menu in Windows 10.
You can access the Start menu by clicking the Windows icon in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. The menu still works pretty much the way it did before but Microsoft has made it more useful by merging some aspects of the Windows 8 Start Screen into it. The new Start menu is therefore a hybrid between the two.
The left side of the menu is where you have the old Start menu look, and the right side of the menu displays the tiles from the Windows 8 Start screen. This Start menu is highly interactive; you can narrow down the right side of the menu if you don’t like the big broad pop-up and Windows 10 will automatically introduce a scroll bar to the right so that you can scroll through the tiles.
You’ll notice when you do that the left side of the screen continues to remain where it was. You can also adjust the size of the Start menu here by dragging the top border up and down or right and left or you can make the menu take up the entire screen to make it more like the Start screen from Windows 8 if you prefer that look or if you’ve just gotten used to it. To do that go to Settings-> System and then switch on Tablet mode.
If you used Windows 8 you should be familiar with this look and behavior, but one difference in Windows 10 is that the background is transparent so you can still see the windows behind it. For now I'm going to go back to the default view, so I'll just switch off tablet mode.
Just as in Windows 8, some of the tiles on the right are live tiles and will automatically update themselves over the Internet, so you can see the news, sports, weather, and other information without having to open an actual app to get to that information.
You can add more apps to the right side of the menu by going to All Apps, right-clicking the app you want and choosing Pin to Start. You can further customize a pinned app by dragging it to a different location.
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You'll notice that the tiles automatically readjust themselves to accommodate the new tile. If you drag the tile further up, you'll see a big blue bar. If you release the tile here, this will form into a new section.
You can then add a name to the section by clicking above the section and typing out the title. You can also rename other sections if you want to. In addition to adjusting the location, you can right click it to resize to either small, which will be useful if you want to pair a lot of apps together, wide if you want it to be easier to see and click on or large if you really want it to be prominent making it easy for you to view updates without having to open an app.
At the top left of the Start menu you'll see your account name, which you can click to get to the Change account settings, Lock and Sign out options. Below the account name you’ll see a categories such as Most used, showing you your most commonly used apps and giving you a quick way to open them. If you have recently installed any programs, you may also see a Recently added section. At the bottom of left side, you’ll find the File Explorer, Settings, and the Power button from where you can put your computer to sleep, shut it down or restart it.
You can further customize the Start menu as a whole by going to Settings->Personalization and then choosing Colors. Here you can automatically pick an accent color from the background. Let's pick a new background screen. Go to Background, select one from the options available, then go back to Colors and then turn on Automatically pick an accent color from my background. You can now see a preview of the color that was picked inside this box.
Below the Accent colors display, we have the option to Show color on Start taskbar and action center. If you turn it on and choose a color, your Start menu, taskbar and action center will take on and display your selected color as you can see here. You also have the option to make the Start menu transparent which is on by default. You can switch it off to make it opaque.
I'll just go back to the default settings for now.
If you've missed the Start menu in Windows 8, you'll be glad to have it back in Windows 10 and if you've really gotten used to the Windows Start screen, you'll be equally glad Microsoft did not do away with it either.